The association then took advantage of the changes to the Condominium Act passed during the 2010 Legislative Session enabling them to collect rent from tenants in units that are delinquent with the association. The specific language from Section 718.116(11) is as follows:
If the unit is occupied by a tenant and the unit owner is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may make a written demand that the tenant pay the future monetary obligations related to the condominium unit to the association, and the tenant must make such payment. The demand is continuing in nature and, upon demand, the tenant must pay the monetary obligations to the association until the association releases the tenant or the tenant discontinues the tenancy in the unit. The association must mail written notice to the unit owner of the association's demand that the tenant make payments to the association. The association shall, upon request, provide the tenant with written receipts for payments made. A tenant who acts in good faith in response to a written demand from an association is immune from any claim from the unit owner.
The Florida Legislature wisely granted this significant relief to struggling condominium associations last year in recognition of the inherent unfairness of delinquent owners continuing to collect rent from tenants while their neighbors shoulder their share of the community's assessment obligations. Again this Session (which just ended last Friday), the Legislature has revisited the issue and clarified in HB 1195 that associations can demand FULL rent from tenants in delinquent properties as well as creating a statutory form to be used for such rent demand.
TCR Holdings, Inc. apparently had no problem collecting rent while not paying its assessments and balked when the association demanded rent from its tenants and evicted those tenants who didn't pay. As a reesult, TCR filed suit on April 29, 2011 in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers claiming that the statutory relief granted to associations to collect rent is unconstitutional.
The following link will take you to a copy of the docket sheet in this case and all exhibits including the complaint. The association has not yet made an appearance in the case so association counsel has not responded to the allegations. Stay tuned for more details to follow.
This work by Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Generic License.